A proposed overpass for the Harrington/Coopernook intersection of the Pacific Highway will not become reality any time before 2020.
Member for Port Macquarie Leslie Williams said the current priority of the New South Wales Government is the duplication of the existing two lane sections of the Pacific Highway, which, she said, will be open to traffic by 2020.
But the overpass, also known as a flyover, is planned to go ahead sometime in the future.
“A post duplication corridor strategy for the Pacific Highway is currently being developed which will identify priorities for future building projects along the full length of the corridor,” she said.
“A preliminary concept design for the grade separated overpass at Harrington was completed as part of the Coopernook Bypass project which opened to traffic in 2006.
“Soft soil treatment work has also been completed to prepare the ground so that main construction can start as soon as possible once funding becomes available,” she said.
“Although the current focus for highway upgrading is to complete the full four lane divided highway from Hexham to the Queensland border, the Government does recognise there will be a need to continue to upgrade the Pacific Highway after major work is completed,” she said.
“As such the Roads and Maritime Service continues to monitor traffic and safety conditions at a number of intersections, including the one at Harrington Road, to match the timing of the work to the safety need.”
The combined population of Harrington and Coopernook residents was recorded at 2800 in 2011, the most recent available statistics.
In order to travel between the two communities, local traffic must cross four lanes of high speed traffic within a distance of just a few hundred metres.
Crash cameras were installed at the Coopernook and Harrington Road intersections in May 2009 after a fatal accident in the February which killed a 67-year-old man.
The cameras – activated by the sound of screeching brakes or similar – have been monitoring the traffic since, .
“The crash records for the Coopernook and Harrington Road intersections with the Pacific Highway for the past five years show that there have been a relatively low number of crashes, while there was one fatal crash outside the five-year period,” said Mrs Williams.
“At this stage, there are other sections of highway with a higher priority for upgrading.
“Even so, we have progressed planning and early work at the site of the future interchange to ensure it can be built without delay when it is required,” she said.